Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Weeks 5 and 6, Happy New Year!

Happy New Year.  It feels like I can finally get down to the business I wanted to.  Somehow the holiday season just has too many impediments.  It's not that I didn't exercise, for instance, but without the usual routine, the hour or so of exercise didn't have the same impact, because I was too sedentary the rest of the day.  And eating carefully was blended too much with eating poorly.

The classic lesson: if it's in the house, I will eat it.  The solution: giving away the chocolates and grapefruit I got as holiday gifts.  Neither one is on the reflux diet, and both are very alluring to me.  I can manage not to eat the oranges that came with the grapefruits, but the grapefruits are too tempting.  All chocolate is too tempting.  So now it's all gone.

Also, the best of intentions can get sidetracked without me even really participating in the side-tracking.  I made a nice batch of whole grain, reflux-appropriate muffins, and half of them went moldy before I could eat them, making it hard to find a good breakfast for a couple of days.  It reminds me of the exercise limitations that my neck problem has caused; just when I was getting more committed to running, and even starting to like it, I found out that I couldn't do it anymore.  And while I like walking, it's not the same in terms of efficient calorie burning and heart-rate working.   (And the more I do the step-mill, the more my knee bothers me, making me not able to do the step-mill.)

So, resolutions for 2013?  Besides continuing with this project, and really trying to make it work, I am going to try to increase my hamstring flexibility.  That seems like a manageable goal, and one that's not so likely to get undermined by the various vicisitudes of the year; I can always add a stretch or two to my day without a lot of rearranging or disruption, and I can also just add more hamstring exercises to the Sunday morning yoga class. 

On the sad note, Whole Living, my favorite magazine, has stopped publication.  I always looked forward to the January issue, because it always had good healthy recipes and a "jump start" plan that was fun to contemplate, whether I did it or not (one year included a lot of juicing, which I don't think I believe in, given how important fiber is for one's diet).  It's sad to lose a very good, very interesting environmentally-conscious magazine, with lots of good information (not to mention beautiful pictures).  There are very few equivalents; Natural Health is good, but only publishes 4-6 times a year; Yoga Journal is great but the environmental stuff is secondary; Ode (which is now called something else) is not really about individual lifestyles as much as it is about larger political issues.  I would love to find something that has good values but isn't a polemic. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Week 4, late again.

Unlike most projects of this kind that start out with a bang and trickle off, this one started with a trickle and will hopefully start banging soon.  The weeks between Thanksgiving and the end of the year are the busiest of all for college professors; to misquote T. S. Eliot misquoting Chaucer, "December is the cruelest month / bringing shadows out of the dead land /  mixing memory with desire."  So accomplishments have to be viewed in a different light.  Most days, I managed to do some exercise.  Some days it was my usual thing, some days less, some days I was glad to have a walk to the train because at least it provided a break from sitting and staring at piles of papers.  Today I should get in my usual exercise, plus a little extra walking--75 minutes of Yoga, 1 hour of Zumba, plus the walks to and from the Y where I do these things, and a little extra en route to Physical Therapy.  But there are still about 40 exams to grade and a lot of math to do . . .

And then the "Holiday Season" kicks into high gear.  The combination of a mixed-up schedule, the Y not having classes, the pool where I like to swim when I'm not at school closed, my trainer on vacation, and extra eating isn't ideal to any of the goals.  So the challenge is to be creative and make sure I get out and do something, instead of staying in an doing nothing, except eat.

On 12/26, I have to return to the "Induction" phase of the Dropping Acid diet, in anticipation of going off Prilosec (after 9 months of 2x per day and 3 months of 1x per day), finally.  This will probably last about a month or more.  It's very restrictive and very boring.  However, probabaly good for me; a kind of enforced "detox" if you will.  I'm not sure I entirely believe in de-toxing or cleansing, certainly not in the kinds that involve eating nothing and only drinking lemon juice with cayenne pepper for a month.  (That would certainly send my Reflux to the skies!)  But having a plan to start breaking bad habits is a good thing; the craziness of the end of the semester, plus the general tendencies of winter, plus all those holiday goodies around makes it hard to eat well or responsibly.  I've been very bad about chocolate, which I'm supposed to restrict, and weirdly, bad about not avoiding onions or garlic.  Also, not being carefully low fat.  And while I haven't had any heartburn, I also have been feeling "acidy."  So knowing I have to change these habits, and having some enforced dates by which to do it, is a good thing.  I will have to renew my affection for graham crackers.

So in terms of resolutions for this week--they will be the same.  Next week, the true test of the year begins.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Weeks Two and Three, Put Together

This is the time of year when it's entirely possible to say, "I don't know what happened to last week," and mean it.  If I have been succeeding in any of those aforementioned goals, I'm not sure I noticed.

I've read repeatedly that after a "certain age" (please say with your best French accent) that one can no longer eat carbohydrates with the same impunity, so from the 26th of November until the 6th of December, I tried very hard to readuce carbohydrates and eat larger quantities of protein.  This was helped along by two factors; my husband, who is a carb-fiend vegetarian, was away, and I had lots of leftover Thanksgiving turkey.  Between leftover turkey, turkey soup, salmon, some eggs, and other additions, I shifted my eating for several days.  To what effect, I'm not sure; people claim to feel less hungry while eating a lot of protein, but I'm not sure that happened, really.  Although the week was not without a somewhat alarming moment that probably meant something--one day, discovering that my turkey leftovers were no longer edible, I had to supplement the lunch with something else, and ended up inhaling half a box of cereal.  I think there may be something to the whole carbohydrate thing, although I can't put my finger on what it is.  To use a phrase a friend of mine introduced me to, "they're more-ish."  It's harder to stop eating them than it is to stop eating other things.  This counts for both the simple and complex kind; the cereal was a very nice high-protein, high-fiber, low-sugar, whole-grain type, but there was something kind of demented about how it felt to eat it--or not to be able to stop eating it.  And of course, the same thing happens with sugary foods, for me, especially chocolate, which is emphatically NOT on the reflux diet. 

Although all that said, if I eat a lot of animal protein, I kind of start to feel hung over.  Red meat more than poultry or fish, but they all can do it to me, even dairy.

I did decide I had to weigh myself, which I wasn't planning on.  The first weigh in (152lbs) was better than I expected.  This week, having returned to my more typical diet, who knows.  I did wear a pair of pants yesterday that I thought fit, but was falling off me, but I think they probably never fit; I just forgot that they were this baggy.  Still, although they looked a bit ridiculous, there was something kind of nice about that too-large feeling.  Except that they're new, and now I'm out a pair of pants.  Sigh.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Week One Report

I discovered that the best way to keep the "eat sensibly over Thanksgiving" pledge in mind is never to sit down during the meal.  It felt like I barely ate anything, and when it was time to contemplate seconds, everything was eaten.  The leftovers weren't what I had hoped for--turkey and desserts rather than brussells sprouts and fruit salad--but turkey sandwiches are unlikely to kill me at a young age.

After a long weekend of indulgence, though, I am finding it easier to be restrained. 

As for exercise, fitting in extra really didn't happen, unless we're counting taking a long walk on Friday.  But again, special circumstances--it's rare I have to spend two days in a row on my feet cooking for masses of people (not again until Passover, I shouldn't imagine!), so I'm just thinking of the holiday weekend as an anomaly.  Not the ideal way to start a year of resolutions, really, so week two will have to be the week that gets me off and running (literally?).

That said, all this is happening within a set of restrictions.  Exercise isn't limited, but what I can do is, a bit; because of disc compression, pinched nerves, stenosis, and bone spurs in my neck, I can't do a number of forms of hardcore cardio exercising--no running, no jumping (which I ignore somewhat in zumba, occasionally to my detriment, no punching or kicking, no swimming freestyle (which I also ignore somewhat, but I'm careful)--and certain kinds of weight stuff as well.  And no standing on my head in Yoga, although that's not a tragedy. 

So this week's goal:  get on track.  If last week went reasonably well under the circumstances, I would like this week just to go reasonably well.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tomorrow, I turn 49.  This gives me one year to get it together before I turn 50.  My goals are to be serious about being healthy.  Last year was a "bad health" year; my hope is to reverse that trend.  There are various impediments that won't go away; my hope is to acknowledge those, but to get rid of all the other excuses that get in the way of doing what I know is good for me.  While a lot of this may focuse on physical health, of course, emotional health is involved as well.  If I eat better, I will feel better.  If I clear a lot of the clutter out of my life, hopefully my mind will feel less cluttered.  I am not blogging about this because I feel like anyone particularly cares; it's to keep myself accountable, and to acknowledge the year rather than just letting it slip by. 

Some large aims:
1) Improve my health, particularly getting control of my diet so that I can stop taking my reflux medication.  Also, to try to take on the principles of the anti-inflamatory diet to see if I can help my chronic neck problem at the same time.
2) To increase my fitness.  I am a pretty dedicated exerciser, but I know that I can do more.  The balance is off; right now, I'm either exercising, or I'm sitting down.  Less of the latter, more of the former.
3) To gain more control of my physical space.  I feel like I live in chaos (too much stuff; too disorganized), and I would like to feel less cluttered, physically and mentally (see above).
4) To focus more on my work so that times I'm not working are really free time.
5) To be more conscious of how I spend my time.

Small aims will come each week.  Since this week is both my birthday AND Thanksgiving, the goal is to eat in a reasonable way despite all the celebrations.  Also, to get enough work done that I don't feel rushed and oppressed on Sunday night.